Friday, March 23, 2007

San Jose Earthquakes find more investors and land to develop

Yesterday saw a great deal of movement in relation to brining a pro soccer team back to San Jose. First off, San Jose City Hall sources say "owners of the San Jose Sharks had reached a deal with developer Lew Wolff to become investors in a future Earthquakes team." However, "Sharks president Greg Jamison did not respond to a call for comment."

But that was just the warm up, as it seems Wolff has identified some undervalued industrial land that he wants to develop into more valuable housing. He will then use that money to finance the resurrection of the Earthquakes.

However, he needs to convince the city to rezone the area for residential usage. This may cause a problem as "job-producing land creates money for the city, while housing creates the need for more costly services." Since the city already has about half a billion dollars in backlogged repair work, it might be a bad time to add houses that will increase demand for services.

Still, Mayor Chuck Reed has not ruled out anything.

Which brings us to the stadium deal. Wolff and San Jose State have yet to finalize a deal with the main hang up being revenue distribution. With the new stadium expected to cost between $80-100m, Wolff will need the rezoning to make it happen, so this hang up might be in part due to him waiting to see if he can get the land deal done.

With the city worried about moving more land over to the residential side of things, it might be difficult for this to happen. Adding to the questions surrounding all this is the city's resistance to releasing the actual proposal. All this secretive stuff is what caused, in part, to the fiasco that blew up in Salt Lake. In my view, if you have a final proposal ready, and Wolff must as he has submitted it to the city, then make it public. Let people talk about it or else everyone will think they are getting hosed.

That being said, this is more positive forward momentum for those hoping to see top-flight soccer back in the Bay area.

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